Skip to Content

Airbag Injury


Airbags must inflate quickly to be effective in an accident. The speed and force of the airbag can cause eye injuries, burns, irritated skin, and open wounds when it inflates.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have new or increased chest pain.
  • You have a bad headache and feel sleepy or confused.
  • Your pain gets worse, even with medicine.
  • Your wounds become red, painful, and tender. They may be hot or swollen.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a new cough or you are wheezing.
  • You have increased tears, redness, or pain in your eyes.
  • You hear ringing or buzzing, or you lose your hearing.

Airbag injury care:

  • Keep wounds covered with a clean, dry bandage as directed. You may be told to apply antibacterial ointment to your wound to prevent infection. You may need stitches. Care for your stitches as directed.
  • Use ice packs as directed to treat swelling around your eyes.
  • Use cool cloths to soothe red, irritated, or burned skin.


  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely.
  • Steroid ointment decreases redness, pain, and swelling.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him of her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Prevent an airbag injury:

  • Make sure everyone wears a seatbelt.
  • Do not allow children younger than 13 years to sit in the front seat. Children who are 8 years or younger should ride in a properly fitting car seat or booster seat. Ask for more information on child safety seats.
  • Check that the airbag switch is off if a child 13 years of age is riding in the front seat.
  • Do not place a rear-facing infant seat in the front of a vehicle. Babies should ride in a rear-facing infant seat in the back of a vehicle until they are 1 year old and weigh 20 pounds.
  • Do not place the lap belt over your stomach. The lap belt should fit snugly over your hips. This is very important if you are pregnant. Never place a shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back.
  • Sit at least 10 inches away from the steering wheel when you drive. Recline the seat or tilt the steering wheel down.
  • Drive with your hands on each side of the steering wheel. Do not drive with your hands on top of the steering wheel.
  • Sit as far back from the dashboard as you can if you are a passenger.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Airbag Injury (Aftercare Instructions)

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.